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Open Access Open Badges Original investigation

Cardiovascular risk factors in Assyrians/Syrians and native Swedes with type 2 diabetes: a population-based epidemiological study

Marina Taloyan1*, Alexandre Wajngot2, Sven-Erik Johansson1, Jonas Tovi2 and Jan Sundquist13

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Primary Health Care Research, Region Skåne, Lund University, Sweden, UMAS, 205 02 Malmö, Sweden

2 Karolinska Institutet, Center for Family and Community Medicine, Sweden, Alfred Nobels allé 12, SE -141 83 Huddinge, Sweden

3 Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2009, 8:59  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-8-59

Published: 12 November 2009



A large number of people throughout the world have diabetes and the prevalence is increasing. Persons with diabetes have a twice higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes. There is a lack of studies focusing on cardiovascular risk factors in Assyrians/Syrians with type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of some cardiovascular risk factors among Assyrians/Syrians and native Swedes with type 2 diabetes and to study whether the association between ethnicity and cardio-vascular risk factors remains after adjustment for age, gender, employment status and housing tenure.


In the Swedish town of Södertälje 173 Assyrians/Syrians and 181 ethnic Swedes with type 2 diabetes participated in a study evaluating cardiovascular risk factors such as increased haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), high blood lipids (total serum cholesterol and triglycerides), hypertension and high urinary albumin. The associations between the outcome variables and sociodemographic characteristics were estimated using unconditional logistic regression.


The prevalence of increased triglycerides in Swedish-born subjects and Assyrian-Syrians was 61.5% and 39.7% respectively. Swedes had a prevalence of hypertension 76.8% compared to 57.8% in Assyrians/Syrians. In the final logistic models adjusted for gender, age, housing and employment the odds ratio (OR) for Swedish-born subjects for increased triglycerides was 2.80 (95% CI1.61-4.87) and for hypertension 2.32 (95% CI 1.35-4.00) compared to Assyrians-Syrians.


Ethnic Swedes had higher prevalence of increased triglycerides and hypertension than Assyrians/Syrians. Total cholesterol, HbA1c and urinary albumin did not differ between the two ethnic groups.